Life's timekeeper
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Life's timekeeper is a 'free-running' intracellular oscillator synchronised across all cells. It runs throughout life splitting lifespan into equal length phases. During the maturational period it controls the overall rate of progression whereas in the post-maturational period it controls the overall rate of ageing. This includes the rate of senescence and hence time to death. As such life's timekeeper equates maturational and post-maturational time, hence explains the tight correlation between these time periods that has existed throughout mammalian evolution. Life's timekeeper is proposed to have played an important role in vertebrate evolution. A slower oscillatory frequency results in proportional life phase prolongation. This leads to increased body and brain size, together with extended lifespan. Higher brain centres, neocortex in mammals, are disproportionately enlarged. Hence behavioural capacity is increased. The extended post-maturational period ensures that there is enough time in order that the behavioural advantages can be fully manifest in the environment. A faster oscillatory frequency would result in proportional life phase reduction. This process however would lead to reduced behavioural capacity, and is hence unlikely to be positively selected. Therefore throughout evolution life's timekeeper has operated to extend lifespan. It has hence functioned to promote longevity as opposed to ageing.

Author(s): 
Neill, David
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Ageing Research Reviews
Journal Abbreviation: 
Ageing Res. Rev.
Publication Date: 
2013-03
Publication Year: 
2013
Pages: 
567-578
Volume: 
12
Issue: 
2
ISSN: 
1872-9649
DOI: 
10.1016/j.arr.2013.01.004
Library Catalog: 
NCBI Published Medical (?)
Extra: 
PMID: 23354279

Turabian/Chicago Citation

David Neill. 2013-03. "Life's timekeeper." Ageing Research Reviews 12: 2: 567-578. 10.1016/j.arr.2013.01.004.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1016/j.arr.2013.01.004 | issn = 1872-9649 | volume = 12 | pages = 567-578 | last = Neill | first = David | coauthors = | title = Life's timekeeper | journal = Ageing Research Reviews | date = 2013-03 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>